The internet is filled with lists and itineraries of what you should do at Disney Parks, including the itineraries we’ve created on this blog. Many of those plans mirror each other to a degree but it can still be overwhelming to have so many factors pulling in different directions. On top of that, most itineraries pack a park day to the brim when there are many other, more relaxing ways to enjoy a day at a Disney Park. With that in mind, we’re starting a new series on the blog called Top Five. I’ll be going through each of the U.S. and Tokyo Disney Park’s and giving my top five things to do at each park. Essentially, this series is a don’t miss this guide.
My top five can consist of attractions, shows, dining, or anything else I think of (it will mainly be in those first three categories). The main caveat is that these top five lists have to consist of tangible things to go and do. We certainly advocate wandering around these parks, enjoying the architecture, desing and detail. Heck, we named the blog after that! That’s just not what I’m going for in this series. Of course, I will bend the rules here and there since I made the rules. My grandma, a regular cheater in card games, would be proud.
I will also do my best to stay away from just listing five attractions. A theme park is certainly built around it’s attractions but we’ve already got the attraction ranking thing down in these posts. There will certainly be attractions in each post but not solely attractions.
We’ll start off this series in Disneyland before moving over to California Adventure. Disney’s original theme park has no shortage of choices, boasting the largest attraction roster of any theme park along with excellent entertainment, solid dining and a good amount of character throughotu the park. Starting with Disneyland makes me wish that I had made this a Top-10 instead of Top-5. But then my mind wanders to Hollywood Studios and I would be really clawing to be able to list 10 things I love about that park. That doesn’t make picking only five items for Disneyland any easier. For those looking for more in-depth itineraries for this park, we have both a one and two-day itinerary.
Alright, let’s get to our five essential things to do at Disneyland!
New Orleans Square
In our original iteration of this post, we separated parts of New Orleans Square. Enough screwing around though, you need to do all of New Orleans Square. Whether it’s walking through the back alley, riding two of Disneyland’s best attractions in Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion or eating at one of several excellent locations, New Orleans Square is worthy of your time.
The land is vibrant, full of color and sound. Grab a seat at Cafe Orleans and enjoy an excellent meal while soaking in the view of the river. We like the entrees fairly well but the star of the show is the Pommes Frites and Mickey Beignets. French Market is the counter-service restaurant in the land and offers Cajun food. The food is solid but the atmosphere is wonderful. Go to this restaurant for dinner and enjoy the live jazz music played in the outdoor seating area.
One of the best aspects of New Orleans Square is how quickly the lines move for Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Despite being excellent attractions, both move people through quickly and efficiently making the waits short. All of this makes New Orleans Square our favorite place in Disneyland.
Fantasyland Mad Dash
Like I said, I get to bend the rules! Disneyland’s Fantasyland is incredible and home to an amazing amount of attractions. One of our favorite past times at the park is getting there at opening or going to the land in the last hour of operation and seeing how many of these attractions we can ride with minimal waits. Since I’m a night owl, I prefer doing this then and the land can be very empty if the hours are late enough. Some essential Fantasyland rides are Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, Alice in Wonderland, it’s a small world, and Matterhorn Bobsleds. While those are the best of the attractions there, going on any attraction with a short wait is the goal and the most fun.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Disneyland’s newest land is my most controversial pick. While Galaxy’s Edge hasn’t reached the popularity that many expected, I find the land breathtaking and enveloping. Between the gorgeous architecture and absurd amount of detail, we could wander through Galaxy’s Edge for hours. The dining scene in the land is strong, especially Oga’s Cantina. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is a great experience, albeit a slightly underwhelming ride. We expect Rise of the Resistance to make the land even stronger. More than anything, Galaxy’s Edge is just a joy to be in. Walking through the shops or stumbling upon the characters is a blast and what ultimately moves Galaxy’s Edge into Disneyland’s Top Five.
Disneyland’s long running nighttime spectacular is an exceptional show in an intimate setting. Guests line up along the Rivers of America and enjoy a trip through Mickey’s imagination. Fantasmic! is action-packed and heartfelt. Lining up along the river can be a hassle at times but it also makes the show feel more personal and unique. It’s one of the best nighttime spectaculars ever.
Yes, I’m cheating. Disneyland has so much to do and see that limiting this to five seems impossible. With that in mind, we’re adding all of Disney’s iconic mountains into one category. I can’t imagine missing out on any of the Space, Splash, Big Thunder and Matterhorn Mountains over the course of a trip. They’re all excellent and worthy of your time. While all four can boast some long wait times you can FastPass all of them throughout the day. The rest of this list is a little low on thrills and that’s where the mountains come in.
My deepest apologies to Indiana Jones Adventure, Plaza Inn, the Disneyland Railroad and Mark Twain Riverboat, which all just barely missed the list. The park is filled with wonderful attractions, entertainment and dining, making the five picks very difficult.
What would be in your Disneyland Top Five? Let us know in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our social media accounts. You can find all of those on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Top Fives